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Titanic, What Really Happened the Night the Titanic Sank.
April 14,1912, the great ocean liner Titanic sank beneath the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. The great ship carried 2, 223 passengers and crew. Thirteen couples aboard were on their honeymoon. Only 706 passengers and crew survived . There were nine dogs on board, two survived.
The Titanic was billed as unsinkable. It was the most opulent and luxurious vessel of the time. Gilded woodwork, etched glass windows, tiled Turkish baths and ornate grillwork were in evidence at every turn. The grand staircase was a visual masterpiece. The cost of a first class passage would be $124,000 in today’s monies. These suites included private baths, fireplaces, carved and gilded wood.
The total cost of the Titanic was 7.5 million in 1912. This would be about 400 million today. She weighed 66,000 tons and was approximately four blocks tall. Her height from bridge to keel was equal to a ten story building. She was built sparring no expense. She was fitted with 29 boilers and 159 furnaces. She carried 20 life boats that could hold 65 persons each, two wooden cutters that could hold 40 persons each, and two collapsible boats that held 47 persons each . The ship needed 48 life boats to accommodate all persons on board. Mr. Ismay of The White Star Line elected to only provide the minimum number of life boats required by law.
First Class Menu RNS Titanic April 14. 1912
First Class Menu RMS Titanic
The private first class dining salon offered a ten course extravaganza for the night of April 14, 1912.
Cream of Barley Soup
Poached Salmon with Mousseline Sauce and Cucumbers
Fillet Mignon Lilli
Sauté of Chicken Lyonnais
Vegetable Marrow Farci
Lamb with mint sauce
Roast Ducking with Applesauce
Sirloin of Beef with Chateau potatoes
Parmentier and Boiled New Potatoes
Roast Squab and Cress
Cold Asparagus Vinaigrette
Pate de Foie Gras
Peaches in Chartreuse Jelly
Chocolate and Vanilla Éclairs
French Ice Cream
There were different wines served with each course. Following the meal coffee, fresh fruit, cheeses, cigars, port, and distilled sprits were available to guests.
Most passengers had retired to their cabins when the ship hit the iceberg at 11:50 pm. The Captain only had 37 seconds to react after the iceberg was spotted. Surviving passengers state that they heard or felt little or no indication anything had occurred. Most were awakened by the crew, who advised the passengers, to report to the deck wearing their life vests.
Bruce Ismay, chairman and managing director, of the White Star Line, had received six prior warnings to slow down the speed of the Titanic, due to reported icebergs in the ships route. He refused to allow the Captain to comply. Mr. Ismay had ordered the Titanic to travel at full speed in order to attempt to set a record for arrival in New York. This was a mistake that would cost over 1,500 persons their lives.
Ironically, Bruce Ismay, jumped into lifeboat number 13 from starboard at the time it was being lowered into the water, saving his own life. The Titanic had a life boat drill scheduled the very day the ship sank , but it had been cancelled by the Captain for unknown reasons.
Initially, there was no concern on the part of passengers and crew to evacuate the ship. According to survivor Ruth Dodge, passengers were told that the Titanic had wireless communication with seven vessels which were in route to relive them. There was constant assurance the ship would not sink until the very end.
The crew had to practically force women and children to enter the life boats. The evening was cold and many had on insufficient clothing to protect them from the elements. The boats were located high above the ocean and the water was dark and cold. Water temperature was reported to be 28 degrees. Many had left valuables and warm clothing behind in their cabins and the Titanic was warm and well lit. The first boat contained only 20 persons.
There have been many views told by survivors in regard to the actions of passengers and crew under duress. It is certain that many heroes remain unnamed and many named heroes were not heroic at all. The class of the passenger and the time of their exiting the ship seem to contribute to survivors accounts of heroic actions.
The crew members advised passengers that only women and children would be allowed in the first lifeboats. Therefore, it is surprising to note that life boat number 5 (the second boat to leave) was occupied by more men than women or children. All occupants were first class, other than two crew members.
Mrs. Ruth Dodge gave her account of the ordeal upon her return after being rescued. She stated Mrs, Isidor Straus was asked to enter the life boat on at least two occasions but refused because her husband would not leave before women and children. Mrs. Straus stated she would die with her husband. Mrs. Dodge stated her husband, Dr. Washington Dodge, had placed her and their son Washington Dodge Jr. in life boat number five (second boat to depart) , but refused to board himself, as women and children were waiting to be placed in boats. She states that other husbands of women in the boat had no such desire to be heroic and jumped in behind their wives. The boat was lowered into the water only half full. Mrs. Dodge recounted that the awful screams and cries of passengers could be heard after the ship went down for approximately one hour over a mile away.
Mrs. Dodge reported that crew members wanted to return to pick up more survivors upon hearing the screams and crying. The other women in the boat refused to allow them to return and threatened that their husbands would take the oars if they attempted to return. Mrs. Dodge begged them to reconsider as her husband might be one of the persons crying in the water. She stated they had their husbands with them while she did not and apparently they were not concerned what happened to anyone other than themselves. The crew was still not allowed to return. Mrs. Dodge changed boats while in the water to get away from the persons in lifeboat five.
Dr. Washington Dodge was a passenger of life boat number 13. There were no women or children on the dock where the lifeboat was located when he boarded the boat. He recounts seeing Captain Smith, John Jacob Astor, and Major Archibald Butts, calmly standing on deck as the water rolled over the Titanic. The band played on. The lights burned until the ship quietly slipped beneath the water. The last minute before she sank passengers from steerage rushed the deck, stabbing right and left to reach the boats. Crew members were forced to shoot twelve passengers from steerage as a result. One crew member shot six and then turned the gun on himself.
Survivor Rhoda Rosa Abbott recounted her story after being rescued. Mrs. Abbott was a passenger in third class with her two sons ages 16 and 13 years of age. There were only two life vests in her cabin which she placed on her children. A crew member gave her his vest stating he wouldn’t be needing it. Mrs. Abbott nor her sons were given a place in a life boat. She states she and seven other women with children were left on deck while numerous men escaped in lifeboats, leaving them to die. Mrs. Abbott and her children jumped as the Titanic went down. She surfaced, but her children did not and were lost. Her sixteen year old son's body was recovered ( number 190) but the youngest was never found.
Mrs. Abbott managed to swim to a collapsible boat that had over turned. Officer Lowe lifted her onto the boat. She was the only female survivor pulled from the water. 328 dead bodies were eventually recovered. Albert Caldwell, his wife Sylvia, and their baby son Alden also survived the sinking of the Titanic. They were missionaries fleeing Siam (Thailand) and traveled in third class steerage. Mr. Caldwell’s nephew recorded his account of the events later in his life. This account can be heard on Parades web site under “ Hear a Titanic Survivor Tell His Story”. Mr. Caldwell left his best suit and one hundred dollars in gold coins in his cabin, where they remain till this day.
Other survivors include Margret Brown known as the famous “Unsinkable Molly Brown”, and Madeleine Talmadge Astor, the 18 year old pregnant wife of John Jacob Astor.
Inside the Titanic under water
April 14, 2012, was the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. The wreck of the ship was located in 1984. Since that point in time numerous expeditions have been made to the sight and robots carrying fiber optic cable have sent live feed footage of the entire site to be viewed by the world. James Cameron has made a remarkable documentary exploring the ship and it’s contents.
The ship is decomposing due to the presence of iron eating bacteria. The amount of the Titanic’s rooms and contents that have remained intact is unbelievable. The gilded clock still sits on the gilded and carved mantle in the Straus stateroom. This was the room that was reproduced for the film Titanic to be used as Rose's room. The bed and bath facilities are still present in the room just where they were left 100 years ago. Other rooms still contain brass beds, a water glass still sitting on a table next to a bed, and personal possessions of passengers still lying around. Clothing and hats still hang in closets. Water urns and dishes still sit on shelves in the pantry unbroken.
Lead glass and etched glass windows with Celtic design still intact stand eerily in their watery grave. Crystal chandeliers swing with the current. Carved wood walls and elevators seem to be waiting for passengers long gone. The tiles from the Turkish bath gleam with beautiful color as the light from the bots illuminate the room. Overturned teak lounge chairs still remain, waiting. The dining rooms ornate iron doors stand open and the numerous lead glass windows gleam in the eerie light. Columns stand at attention and the archway leading to the grand staircase can be seen in relief . It is a surreal picture.
James Cameron's video shows the Titanic under water in all her glory. The video inside her interior is unbeliveable. One feels as if they are there in person seeing the wreck.
Whether the Titanic will be further explored or left with her secrets intact is still a mystery. I, for one , am glad that technology exists to allow the world to view the beauty of the great ship. She lies in the dark deep where exploration was not possible until submersibles, that can withstand the intense pressure, were invented. Robots controlled by parties inside the submersible can explore where man cannot and even pick up articles. They send video back to the sub making the viewer feel they are seeing it all first hand.
One can only hope that lessons were learned from this terrible tragedy and history will never repeat itself. I will certainly never board a ship without knowledge that there are adequate life boats for all on board. It is in times such as this where the best and worse of mankind is revealed.
The video below is an older video showing original footage from 1912 as well as how the titanic was located. It tells an interesting story and is well worth watching.